Abbi had a very surprising alter-ego as the jazz singer Val in Broad City - and here's the story behind the persona. The Comedy Central series - which ended in March after a five-season run - was created by Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, who also star as the lead characters.
The series followed Abbi and Ilana as they navigated life as twenty-somethings in New York City. Broad City was based on the women's real-life friendship with dramatized and comedic twists to churn up all sorts of shenanigans. Illana was shown as being headstrong and free-spirited whereas Abbi was portrayed as more responsible and reclusive, especially when it comes to her friends' wild ideas. So what was the deal with Abbi's transformation into Val?
Abbi's alter-ego Val made her debut in Broad City season 2, episode 5, titled "Hashtag FOMO." Ilana felt like she was missing out on a lot of fun so she and Abbi embarked on a night of partying. They went from party to party but Ilana felt that they were all too boring. The pair eventually ended up at an underground speakeasy, which was revealed to be a spot that Abbi frequently visited when she was blackout drunk. Much to Ilana's surprise, Abbi transformed into Val the jazz singer, performing Judy Garland's song "Get Happy!" on-stage with all the fearlessness in the world.
Val had all of the traits that sober Abbi wished she had: the singer was confident and extremely outgoing; she had loads of fans and lit up the room during her performances. Abbi was the opposite in many cases, as she struggled to make herself standout due to her awkwardness in certain situations. But it was low self-esteem Abbi that made her so relatable to viewers.
Broad City will be remembered as having a slew on long-running jokes throughout its five seasons. The Val alter-ego was truly one of these best gags, showing that Abbi had the power in her to be the courageous woman that she always wanted to be. Most humorously, it had actually been set up previously. Even before Val officially appeared, a woman on the subway recognized Abbi and called her Val but at the time, she thought the woman was mistaking her for someone else.
The idea of Val was actually based on real-life Abbi's experiences getting blackout drunk; Jacobson once explained during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con that Val would emerge after she got drunk from Southern Comfort in college. She claimed that the Broad City version of Val was much more fun than the real version.